For Gay Pride Month, Billboard asked numerous pop culture luminaries to write "love letters" to the LGBTQ community. Below, musician and alternative rock artist Stefan Olsdal shares his. Read more Pride Month love letters here.
Isolation was a big part my adolescence. I was head over heels in love with my roommate at school, but I felt terrified to tell him or any my friends for fear not only rejection but also bigotry and aggression. The forbidden love I felt became burdened with secrets, lies and shame, and the pure love I felt was poisoned.
I have since recovered from my broken heart, and along the way I have found I have not been alone with my experiences. From my dad cracking homophobic jokes, to a bed and breakfast hotel refusing me and my boyfriend a room because we were two men, or having been at risk jail when I first started having sex in the UK, the stories homophobia are unfortunately endless.
But from feeling that being different is a weakness, a curse, and a disease, the LGBTQ community has empowered me to feel the exact opposite. I am perfect as I am and there is NOTHING wrong with the way that I am, or feel. What was my Achilles heel is now my armor. For this I owe it my life!
As long as human rights aren't given to everyone, there is work left to be done. I wear this glove, which I designed with British Glover the Year Gizelle Renee (proceeds on each pair gloves sold will be evenly allocated between the Peter Tatchell Foundation and LGBT Foundation), with pride. We all deserve equal respect and the right to love without persecution no matter what. Whether it's through a hand held up high, a clenched fist or a loving touch, this glove serves the message that still needs to be heard!
Love and PRIDE,